Part III: Extending Equal Rights to All Citizens 1791 - present
December 1791 • The states have established their independence from Britain, and have become one nation. • The U.S. Constitution has been ratified by all 13 of the states. • A bill of rights, in the form of amendments 1 – 10, has been added to the U.S. Constitution. - Who benefits fully from these rights and the right to self-determination (civil and political rights)?
Within the governmental framework set up by the U.S. Constitution, what mechanisms for change exist?
How did the U.S. end slavery? 1787: compromises made in the U.S. Constitution just pushed back the decision 1789 - 1850s: efforts focused on keeping “balance” between slave and non-slave states and territories through laws and “compromises” deeper passions on each side 1830s – 1850s Abolitionist movement grew but… 1857: Sup. Court decision in Dred Scott case: • blacks are not and could not become citizens and therefore had no rights in court - Congress cannot outlaw slavery in the territories
Once the Supreme Court rules on an issue, what options are left? • pass new laws (at national or state level) and manage to enforce them without having them challenged • get a constitutional amendment • get a new case to go through the courts, up to the Supreme Court, and hope that a majority of the justices will be willing to overturn a prior decision of the court
With respect to slavery, did any of these things happen? No, instead the U.S. went to war (Civil War).
Key milestones • 1860 Civil war begins • 1863 Emancipation Proclamation (an executive order, by A. Lincoln) • 1865 War ends (Union wins). 13th Amendment is passed. Rebel states required to ratify it. • 186814th Amendment • 187015th Amendment
14th Amendment • Section 1: • Anyone born or naturalized in U.S. is a citizen of the nation and of the state where they live. • States cannot: • make/enforce laws that limit citizens’ freedoms/rights • take away anyone’s life/liberty/property without going through fair process (law enforcement + courts) • fail to apply laws consistently and fairly to people living in their state, in recognition of their rights as citizens
14th Amendment Sections 2-4 were to resolve issues left by Civil War: 2: how will population be recounted without 3/5ths compromise; who can vote; what happens if an eligible person is denied suffrage 3: who can run for office 4: whose war-related debts are legitimate 5: Congress has the power to enforce this!
Further milestones • 1865 – 1877: Reconstruction • 1875 – 1896: tug of war between Congress, southern states and Supreme Court • 1875: Congress passes Civil Rights Act, but Supreme Court in 1883 weakens it by saying it doesn’t apply to individuals • 1870s: Sup. Ct sees STATES, not fed. govt, as responsible for enforcing “equal protection clause” of 14th Amendment - 1896: Sup. Ct decision in Plessy v. Ferguson: “having separate but equal” facilities for racial groups does not violate the rights of people of color (non-whites)
What happened as a result of the stance taken by the federal govt(esp. Supreme Court)? - Rise of “black codes” and “Jim Crow” laws - Failure to ensure “equality” in public facilities - Failure to prosecute “vigilante” justice (attacks, lynchings) and white supremacist acts
“de jure” segregation by race • Where was it evident? • How long did this last?
How did advocates of the rights of African-Americans respond? • Early 1900s formation of organizations like NAACP, writings by W.E.B. DuBoisand others, anti-lynching movement led by Ida Wells-Barnett • 1916 – 1919 Patriotism of African-American soldiers in World War I (despite segregation of troops by race and attacks on return home) • 1930s Willingness of individuals to challenge color lines by applying to universities, to file lawsuits • 1940s Successful appeals to Presidents (Roosevelt in 1941, Truman in 1948) to end segregation within defense industry and military via executive order
What finally opened the door to the modern civil rights movement? • 1954 Supreme Court: Brown v. BOE: “separate” is never equal; segregation in public education is unconstitutional because it denies equal protection under the law to children who are not white (contrary to 14th Amendment); Plessy v. Ferguson is overturned 1955 – mid 1970s modern civil rights movement picks up momentum
Civil rights milestones after 1954 1955: Montgomery bus boycott (followed in 1956 by Supreme Court decision outlawing segregating seating on buses) 1957 – 1963: resistance to desegregation of schools and transportation, non-violent protest, violence against civil rights leaders and citizens, incl. children 1963: March on Washington, MLK “Dream” speech, assassination of JFK 1964: Civil Rights Act (against discrim.employment + public accommodations) 24th Amendment (poll taxes) 1965: Selma to Montgomery march for voter registration Voting Rights Act: federal gov’t allowed oversight of elections Malcolm X assassinated 1968: Civil Rights Act (against discrimination in housing) RFK and MLK assassinated 1971: Supreme Court rules that federal courts can order busing of children in order to desegregate schools 1970s – 1980s: continued efforts to desegregate schools, neighborhoods, etc.
Evidence of continued racial segregation and discrimination? • “de facto” vs. “de jure” segregation • racial profiling • unequal rates of incrimination and incarceration • affirmative action and arguments against it
Other movements inspired by the push for African-Americans’ civil rights